COULD the Perth Scorchers do it again?
With nine days remaining until the eighth season of the Big Bash League kicks off, it is the men from Western Australia that will begin as favourites to clinch a fourth title.
The Scorchers have been the most consistent and successful team in the history of the tournament, making the finals in every season of the competition, making five grand finals where they have a 3-2 record.
Despite missing the Grand Final last year, bookmakers have had no hesitation in installing Perth as the $5 favourite to get its hand on silverware yet again.
Last season’s champions, the Adelaide Strikers, are next in the betting at $6, while last year’s runners up, the Hobart Hurricanes, are at $7.
As is typically the way with the Big Bash League, the rest of the betting is quite even.
The perennial under-achieving Melbourne Stars are at $7 with cross-town rival the Melbourne Renegades at $8. Bookmakers are not giving the Sydney teams much of a chance as the Sixers ($8.50) and Thunder ($10) round out the market.
Last year the Perth Scorchers finished atop the BBL standings, but fell in the home semi final in a shock result to the Hobart Hurricanes.
Many pundits blamed the switch to hosting matches at the new Optus Stadium in the finals for the loss. Perth looked to cash in on the new 60,000 capacity venue over its spiritual home at the WACA, surrounding a true advantage when it was just as new to the pitch and conditions as its opponent when it mattered most.
Those concerns should not be an issue this season, as Perth will play seven home games at the venue before a potential finals run.
Returning for the Scorchers is the recently-banned opening batsmen Cameron Bancroft, who will be desperate for redemption, while many of the unassuming and effective players that have gelled together to share so much success will be back for another tilt.
Make sure that you keep an eye on our tips page for all the best day-to-day BBL betting tips.
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